The Art of Living a Life of Excellence
Who says a life can’t be high art? I intend to make the art of living my life one of excellence. Artists, and writers from centuries past have worked to capture the hero and heroine attempting to achieve their destiny, overcoming challenges at every turn, seeing results, seeing failures, and ultimately celebrating their victory.
The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Self-realization demands very great struggle. – Swami Sivananada
Isn’t the very quest of finding self-realization (fulfillment of one’s own potential) and self-actualization (desire to become actualized in what we are potentially) never-ending? There is always room for more improvement.
Steps to begin a life of high art:
- Create a vision statement. Ask yourself what are your passions, likes, dreams, and what makes you happy? What were you good at in school, or in your social life, what are your top five values, how do you want your life to feel, who you love and admire, what do you want to accomplish. Writing out all the answers to these important questions should allow you to see some common themes. Think about the value words you want to emulate in your personal and professional life. Ideally you want to limit this to five core values that will be your guiding principles in life. Using these value statements you can create a vision statement about what it is you want to do for the world using your core values to determine you behavior and actions. This one statement will give the necessary clarity to align yourself to the life that you want. Using this statement and values will also help you better focus on what’s important to you on your to do list for everyday and your short term and long-term goals.
- Create a vision board / vision map. The only way to live is to live life with love and passion. Create a vision board by taking all your magazines or any literature or art. Cut out all you favorite quotes that inspire you, the images that make you want to reach for more, and the elements that make up the life you want. Create a work of art out of your dreams so you can visualize it. To create a vision, map out your future life use magazines, art, or cut outs of whatever suits your fancy. Better yet draw your dreams by hand – maybe even create a before and after of your life so you can see the changes you want. Create a roadmap of your dreams. The places, and things you want to experience and how they are in line with your core values. This is meant to motivate you every day by getting you into the right frame of mind.
- Set your goals. This is the fun part if you like listing things out. Very often people set goals and don’t achieve them. To give you a better chance at achieving them there are a few things you can do. One of them is to understand why you want to achieve the goals you choose. Make sure each goal is something you are passionate about achieving, if it doesn’t excite you, cross it out and pick a new one. Another thing you can do is to create SMART goals. Makes sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. An example of a common goal people set is “Get in shape” But a SMART goal would say instead “Join a health club nearby and workout 3 days a week for 30 minutes”. This makes the goal more measureable, and will increase the likelihood that it will be achieved. Create a list of goals for every season because self-improvement is a lifelong pursuit and you want to go about life with a clear idea of what your destinations will be.
- Create a life journal or life tracker. Give yourself the freedom to dream in this journal. Write all your goals, dreams, plans, values, any quotes or random things that inspire you. This will help you document your progress and keep in touch with what’s in your heart. You might find that certain things aren’t working for you but other things are. Whatever you find, journaling is a great way to notice areas of concern, or areas of interest. Which will help you plan a better course of action and become more self-aware.
- Cultivate a sound state of mind. It’s often said that you’re thoughts determine your destiny. You want your thoughts to be high quality. Meditation and a yoga practice can aid in decreasing the negative thoughts. Surrounding yourself with good brain food is essential in creating a can do attitude. Watch inspirational speeches, read educational or inspirational material. Stay away from negativity because it will always be there but serves no purpose. Instead safeguard your mind to create a space that creates possibility and opportunity. Learn to see the possibility and opportunity that others miss. Seek and you will find.
- Create your bucket list. Everyone should have a bucket list. You would be surprised what someone can achieve in a lifetime if they put their mind and soul into it. A bucket is simply your to do list before you perish It sounds kind of morbid but this can be inspirational as well. The fact that we will all die someday means we have nothing to lose. If you live your life to the fullest, one lifetime will be more than enough. A bucket list is a great way to ponder over all the things you want to do, see, and experience in your life. Write a list of things you want to see, and what dreams you want to live before you die. Make it a goal to cross them off one by one.
- Let go of fear and worry. Fear and worry bring comfort to our irrational side and our negative side. But these emotions sometimes prevent us from actually achieving our goals. Journaling could help overcoming this or using another creative medium. But the important point is to address the fear and worry, and find the root, and erase it. Fear and worry does keep us safe in certain situations but in everyday life they serve as a distraction to being productive and living our dreams.
- Remove ties with negative friendships and people. People who bring you down are not worth having around you. You want to surround yourself with positive people that encourage you to be great. Have you heard the saying that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. If this is true make sure the people you are surrounding yourself with are quality people who inspire and motivate you. People have an uncanny effect on other people. If you have friends who discourage you and pull you down, it’s time to find new ones.
Letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life – unknown
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